By Hilary White

DUBLIN, July 28, 2008 ( – A suit brought by an Irish abortion lobby group to demand that the Republic of Ireland drop its legal protections for unborn children will be heard in the European Court of Human Rights. The Ireland Family Planning Association (IFPA) has been told today by the Court that the case, first launched three years ago, will go ahead.

The action in the European Court was brought by the IFPA, a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, as only one aspect of a larger legal and lobbying attack on Ireland’s constitutional protections for unborn children.

An IFPA spokesman said, “We hope the case will advance quickly through the court, ultimately making a strong recommendation to the Government to reform Irish laws and the current status quo on abortion.”

The IFPA believes that a ruling from the European Court will force Dublin lawmakers to change laws, enshrined in the constitution, recognising the rights of the unborn to life. The Court has asked the Irish government to submit “observations” in the case.

The Eighth Amendment of Ireland’s Constitution Act was approved by referendum in September 1983 and signed into law in October the same year. It “acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

The recent defeat by an Irish referendum of the Lisbon Treaty, the European Union’s attempt at reviving its failed 2005 Constitution, was driven in part by warnings from the pro-life community that the EU laws would be used as a lever to abolish Irish protections for the unborn. The European Court is known to be strongly sympathetic to the abortion movement and has recently issued a ruling to Poland to attempt to force that country to comply with the movement’s demands to legalise abortion.

IFPA lawyers intend to argue before the court that Ireland’s restrictions on abortion put the “health and welfare” of the women at risk. In the US and elsewhere, the open-ended concept of abortion for a woman’s “health” has allowed the term to be interpreted so broadly as to have created de facto abortion on demand.

The three women IFPA is using to promote the case, identified only as A, B and C, represent what the abortion industry considers its broad based approach to “abortion rights.” All three went outside the country, to the neighbouring UK, to abort their children, an increasingly common practice among Irish woman, given the UK’s nearly restriction-free abortion law.

One woman suffered an ectopic pregnancy, a condition that is typically fatal to both mother and child. However, the removal of the child in the case of ectopic pregnancy (thereby saving the life at least of the mother) is not regarded by pro-life advocates as an abortion, but rather a legitimately life-saving procedure, one consequence of which is the death of the unborn child.

The second woman sought an abortion because she had undergone chemotherapy while pregnant. Doctors routinely recommend abortion in such situations, but many women have undergone chemotherapy with no detriment to their unborn children. The third, whose other children had been removed from her care by social services, declared simply that she could not “cope” with another child.

Ireland’s strong protections for the unborn have been under a constant barrage of attack from international abortion and population control groups since its passage in 1983. A previous attempt by Irish abortion lobbyists to bring a case to the European Court failed in 2006 when the Court rejected the lawsuit brought by a woman identified as “D”, who made exactly the same complaint – that she had to travel to Britain to abort her child.

  Read related coverage:

Abortion Laws May be in the Balance as Ireland Prepares for European Treaty Referendum


Commenting Guidelines

LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.